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Pitch Black (Detective Lorimer Series Book 5) Kindle Edition
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The investigating officer, DCI William Lorimer of the Strathclyde Police, is very competent and has a team whom he inspires, but his charisma does not come through on the page. At the beginning of the story Lorimer and his English teacher wife, Maggie, are ending their holiday on Mull when a stray ginger cat appears, stays with them and is taken back to their Glasgow home [and named ‘Chancer’] until its owner can be found. Naturally Maggie and the reader hope that this will not be the case. This sub-plot continues through the whole book and is linked to the couple’s inability to have children of their own.
Lorimer returns to work to investigate the killing of a Kelvin player , Nico Faulkner, who appears to have been stabbed to death by his wife, Janis, in a domestic dispute. However, whilst she is in prison two other killings occur, of a referee and another player, and if these can be linked together the wife will be released. There is a ghost of a former player that appears and seems to be linked to the killings whilst the club’s chairman is, naturally, not the straightforward businessman that he claims to be.
The team players and staff are listed at the front of the book, which is helpful since few, if any, stand out as individuals. Gray includes excerpts from match commentaries that sound very clunky until one reads them out loud with the correct note of excitement; however they do not add any additional information. I suspect that those readers who enjoy or play sport, in general, and football, in particular, will enjoy this story more than those who have little interest in either. The club’s supporters, the Kelvin ‘Keelies’ do seem to have the necessary passion and belief with which to follow their recently demoted side.
The scenes inside Cornton Vale Women’s Prison where Lorimer talks with Janis are interesting, and Janis’s thoughts about her incarceration are amongst the most convincing aspects of the book, alongside Lorimer’s balancing the need to keep an open mind with his growing belief that things may not be what they seem in the Faulkner killing. The investigation grinds on but is given added impetus when repeated death threats are made against a senior club official.
Unlike the previous book in the series that I have read, a significant plot element removes the psychologist Dr Solomon Brightman and his fiancée, the forensic pathologist Dr Rosie Fergusson, from much of the story and, as yet, Lorimer is insufficiently interesting to bear the weight of the story.
The publishers’ comparison of Gray/Lorimer with Rankin/Rebus does nothing for Alex Grant in terms of the creation of her characters, dialogue or storytelling. The plot does have some interesting twists but these are insufficient to maintain interest throughout. I am sure that Gray [and Lorimer] will improve with experience although this is the fifth in the series, 7/10.
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